This is a #QueerFro submission by Roman*, a queer Zimbabwean man.
My name is Roman, I’m a 22 year old boy. Being queer it has been really hard growing up, especially in Zimbabwe. Coming out to my family at the age of 19, I lost quite a number of relatives, but it wasn’t really big of a problem since I felt a burden had been lifted off my shoulders. I also felt content and happy with the family which embraced my sexuality and it was a good feeling since I felt their genuineness.
Over the years I have learnt that love from family and friends overlooks flaws hence it was not as difficult for me to let go. My mother passed on 3 days after one of my cousins had called and asked me to come to her house only to bash me with harsh words, threaten to tell my mother about what she had heard if I could not tell her myself. I will never forget that day, I still remember how scared I felt. I felt so scared, ashamed considering I was disrespected by how I was interrogated in front of my niece and nephew. Each time I think of it I feel like crying. What made it worse is that earlier that year I had come out to a cousin I thought I was close with and she was the same person who went on to confirm people’s suspicions.
I felt betrayed, I was broken but the real horror came a couple of days after. My aunt (mom’s sister) went on to tell my mom about what had been going on. My mom then went on to confront me, I didn’t know what to tell her, I didn’t want to hurt her. At first I denied until it got to a point where I told her that I just felt I was different. I saw how sad she was in her eyes when she asked me how all this came to be. After, she didn’t want the family to keep talking about it, she blocked contact with my aunt and she didn’t want to talk to my other cousins anymore. The last time I talked to my mom was that evening, we watched TV and she mentioned how all my other cousins had things going on in their lives and questioned why my issue was of so much interest. Mentioning how she had told me not to trust people so quick, she referred to the cousin I had come out to as the one who had betrayed me.
The following morning my little sister broke into my room in panic mode.
The gloomiest memory was made for me, there was my lifeless mother, passed out on the carpet in the living room. My feet went cold, I screamed, I shouted. My sister was all in tears with our mom’s head on her lap yelling, crying asking for her to respond. Just like that mommy was gone of hypertension and asthma. The one person who had proved she would always have my back. Then there came accusations of me causing her death, two suicide attempts. I was dead inside, I hated myself. I got to a point where I actually believed I was the one responsible for my mom’s death. I blamed myself for how my sister had become an orphan at such a young age. Each time I tell this story I get emotional. I really wish I could have had a few more days with her. I was so vulnerable but thank God my paternal family took me in and I moved in with my aunt (dad’s sister) and her family, also my sister moved in with the other aunt. Just like that our cute little family was broken.
I’m really grateful to have an accepting and loving family even though society is not so accepting. My list of fears are include bashing, rejection and insults but I have learnt to keep in the small circles of the accepting people I have around. I’m not really a social person and I sort of avoid getting too comfortable with new people since they can be too quick to judge. At school I just try to block the negative energies from prejudicing people.
Lastly, I strongly advise other queers out there to avoid company which drains their energy and pours out negativity.I really wish sexuality could just be overlooked and feel like it doesn’t really matter. I wish people could see what amazing people the LGBTQ community consists of.
*not his real name.